Wow, it has been a crazy year…from starting my blog back in January, finishing my futuristic fantasy novella, looking for agents/publishers/beta readers for said novella, starting a bookstagram, and much more, I have been *very* busy. I am in love with my new blogging/bookstagram lifestyle, and the incredible bloggers, authors, agents, and fellow fangirls I have met through my journey make it that much better. Of course, with every journey comes bumps in the road, but I wouldn’t trade those difficult spots for anything in the world. They definitely helped me learn and grow as a blogger, and as a person.
I’ve learned many things in the span of a year, including (but not limited to) how to properly request ARCs, how to gracefully respond to ARC acceptance emails without a thousand exclamation points, how to fail multiple times at getting a favorite author’s attention, how to bug publishing houses by liking, retweeting, and generally obsessing over everything they say (sorry, NOVL!), how bookstagram actually works (hashtags, y’all…they’re important), how “okay, I’m only going to check this one thing on Twitter” can turn into “an hour later, I’m still on Twitter,” and…yeah, you get the idea. Blogging does take up a lot of my time now, but I am hoping that everyone does enjoy reading my reviews, and my original goal of promoting women YA authors has been accomplished and upheld. I know I have a lot of fun writing reviews, and talking with authors/marketing directors/agents. Just connecting with authors over their book has been one of my favorite things, if not the favorite thing, that I’ve enjoyed most about blogging this year.
Enough about me. I’m sure you’re eager to see what my top five favorite books of 2018 are! In each category, I’ll include a photo of the book, a link to my review, a link to a bookstagram photo, and a short blurb featuring what I liked about the book. (Stick around until the end for a short shout-out session featuring some of my favorite authors and bloggers!)
Introducing my five favorite books of 2018! These books that have made it to the top five have surpassed over 40 of the books I read in 2018. (*hint, hint* that probably means that you want to find them, buy them, and read them ASAP).
5. REFLECTION: A TWISTED TALE by Elizabeth Lim (YA)
If you combine my favorite Disney movie with adventure, romance, and humor then write a book about it, it’s a win-win. I always approach retellings with hesitancy, but I can promise that REFLECTION will not disappoint. REFLECTION is a great story of Mulan's desire to be accepted as a woman warrior, something which I think is a metaphor for what is important for young adult women of today's world to see more of in life. It is well-written and engaging, and a book that anyone will want to read, regardless of genre. I was sent this book by Disney Hyperion in exchange for an honest review!
4. ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE by Makiia Lucier (YA)
Mention two of my favorite words in a sentence (i.e. “historical” and “fantasy”) and I’m immediately hooked. It’s always a chore to find a historical fantasy book done right, and ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE certainly does it right…and then some! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a heart-pounding adventure in a rich, imaginative new world, packed with intriguing characters and storylines. I was sent this book by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review.
3. FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell (YA)
I haven’t written a review about this one yet, but it’s coming in a few days. I absolutely love FANGIRL because it is so relatable. Simon Snow is the glorified Harry Potter fandom, and Rainbow Rowell captured every aspect of being a fangirl perfectly. Plus, Cath is the first character I’ve read that is almost identical to me (even down to the way we wear our hair)! If you’re looking for a brilliant plot, geeky humor, and (finally!) a book that embodies the lives of most female YA readers, than FANGIRL is for you. I was sent this book by Wednesday Books/Macmillan in exchange for an honest review (coming soon).
(blog post coming soon)
2. GRACE AND FURY by Tracy Banghart (YA)
Fellow binge-readers, look no further, because you will devour GRACE AND FURY within hours. I’m such a fan of what I call “court drama” books; GRACE AND FURY gives me that dose of court drama, and then transitions seamlessly into a Hunger Games-style action novel. Wow. I was blown away by this book, and I can pretty much guarantee that you will be too! Tracy Banghart delivers some of the best world-building I’ve read in a long time, and her evocative story proves a point while transporting you along on a thrilling adventure. I was sent this book as a fulfillment of my #bookishwish from TheBookBratz.
I. THE WICKED KING by Holly Black (YA)
One could make a point that this book doesn’t release until 2019, BUT, I got in in 2018, so it is definitely being counted. As I said when I wrote my review, it was all I could do not to write it in ALL CAPS and include hundreds of crying emojis. THE WICKED KING is a work of brilliance. Holly Black pulls her readers in and makes them hang on tight for the rest of the wild ride. There was never a dull moment, and the ending was simply devastating. I have read *many* YA books, but none “have it all” like THE WICKED KING does. Court drama, romance, Cardan, battle scenes, political intrigue, teen angst, Cardan, intriguing characters, Cardan, and much more! You have to read THE WICKED KING for yourself when it releases, and then you’ll understand why this is a swoon-worthy, kick-butt, worthy-of-many-awards read. This is one of my all-time favorite YA books, and very worthy of the #1 read of 2018!
Lastly, I’d like to give a few shoutouts to the bloggers who’ve supported me, authors I’ve loved talking with, and some more incredible people.
To the bloggers: TheBookBratz, Julia (fablehunter01), Amanda (amandalynnbxo), Ashley (WhimsiesOfANerd), Avhlee (AvhleeWrites), Steph (stephloves4), Christine (TheUncorkedLib), and so many more. You all have shown me encouragement since I first started my blog, and I am so appreciative and happy to have met all of you!
To the authors: Elodie Iver, Catherine Kopf, Elizabeth Lim (for putting up with my obsessive tweets), Elly Blake and Tracy Banghart (for hosting giveaways with me), Maddie Gudenkauf, L. M. Elliott (for reading my novella…thank you!), and to the authors I haven’t even met yet! I’m so happy to have gotten to know you all more via social media, and I am thrilled to watch your books get the attention they deserve.
Also, a huge shoutout to the person who sent me THE WICKED KING. You don’t even know how happy I was that someone was taking a chance on a new book blogger. It meant a lot. Thank you again!
Finally, to the agents, marketing directors, and publishers who have sent me review copies. Thank you so much! I wouldn’t have a book review blog without you.
Thank you for reading my post…I hope you weren’t overwhelmed with all the sap at the end, but sometimes I think a little sap is okay to express how you feel. 2019 holds a lot of amazing book reviews…I’m getting booked up quickly, and I already have seven reviews lined up for January-March, with more on the way for the rest of the year! I hope you’ve enjoyed sticking with me on my 2018 blogging journey, and I can’t wait for 2019!